Theory of Knowledge
Theory of Knowledge is a third-year course for undergraduates focused on the nature and extent of our knowledge. The class begins by trying to determine the commitments of "common sense": what do we everyday take knowledge to be and how do we use the concept? We then look more closely at the concept of knowledge and attempt an analysis, leading us to the Gettier problem and the variety of responses to it. We then look at accounts of knowledge offered by BonJour, Haack, Goldman, Plantinga, and Nozick, among others. When then turn around and question whether "common sense" is right after all, raising the problem of skepticism, considering the challenges given by Quinean naturalism, and the challenge posed by peer disagreement. We end with a discussion of contextualism. In addition to regular quizzes and exams and participation in discussion, students must develop an original argument paper based both on course readings and outside research. Non-majors are welcome in the class, although those without prior background in philosophy will likely find it challenging and should plan extra time to learn important concepts in analysis and argumentation.
"It was great to learn about these subjects and these lessons will stay with me through my life, studies and career." (Spring 2017 Student)
"Everything was laid out in clear detail, while still providing ample room for the student to come to her own, necessary conclusions." (Fall 2015 Student)
"I like how we were challenged in this course to constantly form our own opinions about the subject matter rather than simply reiterate what we had read." (Spring 2015 Student)